A rare glimpse into everyday Edwardian London can be seen in a recently uncovered piece of 35mm film dating from 1904, which was unearthed by a historian combing through archives in Canberra.
While footage from the inchoate beginnings of cinema often involves staged performance, the 12-minute reel features ordinary London folk going about their normal lives. The film was shot as a travelogue for people living in Australia, either those curious about life in the Old Country, or who’d emigrated but wanted to show their offspring what they’d left behind. Hence this panorama of the commonplace, showing a London on the cusp of modernity, captured in what was at the time a revolutionary new medium.
The full clip will be shown tonight, as part of a London Film Festival event called London Loves, which features excerpts from little-seen moments in the capital’s celluloid history. The event begins at 6.30pm in Trafalgar Square.
Video courtesy of National Film & Sound Archive of Australia